is an artificial aquarium
. The dolphins are kept in a large pool, though occasionally they are also kept in pens
, either for research or for public performances. Some dolphinariums consist of little more than one pool where dolphins perform for the public, others have expanded in much larger parks often having more than one pool, keeping other marine animals as well and also having other attractions. These larger parks are often no longer considered to be dolphinariums themselves, but marine mammal parks
or other theme parks
that also have a dolphinarium. A dolphinarium can also be part of a zoo
Though cetaceans have been held in captivity in both North America and Europe since the 1860's, dolphins were first kept for paid entertainment in the Marine Studios dolphinarium founded in 1938 in St. Augustine, Florida. It was here that an employee discovered during feeding that dolphins could be trained to perform tricks. Recognizing the success of Marine Studios, more dolphinariums keeping dolphins for entertainment followed.
In the 1960's, keeping dolphins in captivity for entertainment purposes became even more popular after the 1963 Flipper movie and subsequent Flipper television series. In 1966, the first dolphin was exported to Europe. In these early days, dolphinariums could grow quickly due to a lack of legislation and little care for animal welfare. New legislation, most notably the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act in the United States, combined with a more critical view on animal welfare forced many dolphinariums around the world to close their doors. As an example, at one point during the early 1970's there were 36 dolphinariums and travelling dolphin shows in the United Kingdom, none of which still exist today, the last dolphinarium in the UK having closed its doors in 1993.
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